QiLan Yancha "Wonderful Orchid" Wuyi Oolong Tea
An excellent thoroughly roasted oolong from the Wuyi mountains in the northwest of China's Fujian Province. The name QiLan translates to "Wonderful Orchid", and though it does have a noticeable floral overtone, brewing this tea over several steeps reveals layers and layers of subtle complexity, with nutty, earthen, and peppery notes appearing before alternately lingering and fading. Altogether it's complex and quite tasty, with warming qualities that make it especially well-suited for cooler nights and mornings.
There are now two options for QiLan Yancha, the Spring 2018 Harvest and the Spring 2019. Though the 2019 was graded higher by the grower, it seems to us not so much that it's better, just different. You may find the 2019 to have a stronger presence altogether, and the 2018 to have an interesting subtlety and perhaps a thicker mouthfeel. Maybe try both!
We recommend brewing this tea at near-boiling temperatures for 1-3 minutes if brewing western style. If brewing in a gaiwan, start with 15 seconds, adding time in successive steeps. It holds up well to repeated infusions and is good for 5-8 steeps depending on brewing method.